DOC’s largest boost since 2002
Green Party co-leader James Shaw is calling Budget 2018 the ‘‘greenest Budget in living memory’’ with the largest boost to conservation funding since 2002.
Budget 2018 delivers $618 million over four years to Green Party policies, about 5.4 per cent of the $11.4 billion in new operational spending allocated in the total Budget.
Seven of the party’s 20 pledges it won during coalition negotiations are included – with an aim to get the other ones rolled into future Budgets.
A big chunk of the funding is $181.6m over four years for the Department of Conservation – the largest boost since 2002. The party campaigned on doubling the DoC budget, however this boost doesn’t manage that.
‘‘After years of neglect and piecemeal funding, Budget 2018 ensures that DoC can plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species,’’ Conservation Minister and Green MP Eugenie Sage said.
The money will go towards ‘‘landscape-scale predator control’’, biodiversity initiatives, core capability, and better visitor management.
‘‘Budget 2018 will lock in ongoing funding for predatorcontrol programmes like the Battle for Our Birds. Instead of DoC having to scramble and shift funding every year from other priorities, this work will now have secure ongoing funding as part of the department’s baseline,’’ Sage said.
Another Green win is a $100m Green Investment Fund aimed at stimulating private sector investment into low-emission projects.
‘‘The fund will be established by the end of 2018. There is an expectation it will repay initial Crown operational funding once it is self-sustaining,’’ Shaw said.
‘‘In places like Australia, the United Kingdom and some US states, green investment funds have been hugely successful, attracting capital to fund lowcarbon transitions and reduce climate pollution.’’
The Green Party – as it has in the past – also won money for a new insulation and heating scheme, which will deliver $142.5m in grants for low-income homeowners to heat and insulate their homes.
‘‘Today’s Budget represents a measured approach to the implementation of our confidence and supply agreement over this term of government,’’ Shaw said.
‘‘It is our anticipation that the remaining measures will be met over future Budgets.’’
The party has had some other wins, including the end of new oil and gas exploration permits and pledged funding for light rail in Auckland.
‘‘Budget 2018 will lock in ongoing funding for predator-control programmes.’’ Conservation Minister and Green MP Eugenie Sage